Making the right choice early can increase independence, even as health care needs and abilities change
As we age, our healthcare and lifestyle needs inevitably evolve. While everyone’s situation is unique, it’s important to plan ahead for how your needs may change in the future. For most of us, our personal care needs in five years and a decade from now, will be significantly different from today. It’s not uncommon to lose some coordination, flexibility and balance over time. Some may also experience cognitive impairment or dementia.
Research has shown that seniors and their family members often take a different approach when exploring senior living options. Independent seniors tend to focus on lifestyle—programs, amenities and services that will take away the burden of home care, let them stay active and social, plus meet all their current daily needs. Families also want those things for their loved ones, but their first priorities tend to be safety, personal care and support.
In both cases, aging parents and adult children tend to look for what is needed now, often without enough thought to how those needs may change over time. Additionally, many families wait until an urgent health care need occurs to make the transition to senior living, which means making rushed, reactive decisions instead of taking a proactive wellness approach. That’s why finding a community that can evolve with you and provide a wide range of care, services and activities can dramatically improve long-term care outcomes. While independent living and retirement communities provide many lifestyle benefits, they are not equipped for medical care services as residents age. This could lead to a difficult transition to a new community or space that can accommodate a higher level of care.
“[Our mom] started having a lot of falls,” says Catherine, the daughter of a Belmont Village resident. “They weren’t able to care for her in independent living. If we had thought about it to begin with, we would have tried to find a place where she started out in independent living and was able to transition to assisted living as she aged. That was one thing that we really liked about Belmont Village.”
Finding a senior living community where you can age in place means you won’t have to move when care needs change. For example, not all communities are licensed to provide a higher level of health care in every area of their building or campus. And not all communities have licensed nurses on site to address urgent situations around the clock. Belmont Village offers a unique model, where each building is licensed for the highest level of care throughout, so residents can remain active with their friends and neighbors while getting the level of care they need. Most importantly, couples with differing personal care needs can continue to stay together.
Here are three ways that aging in place in senior living helps promote successful aging overall.
1) Extends Independence
When seniors embrace a proactive approach to long-term planning and care, they often find that they can live more independently than they ever imagined. Because of the additional daily support, such as meal service, transportation, housekeeping, home care and maintenance, residents are free to spend more time doing what they enjoy.
2) Maintains Health, Wellness & Safety
It’s better for overall health and wellness to age in place in a location that provides the right programs, staffing and support. Good nutrition, daily strength and balance exercises, and rehabilitation promote physical and mental stimulation, which can help older people maintain the strength and range of motion needed to avoid a dangerous fall. One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
Risk of falls increases even more when cognitive decline is a factor. When dementia is involved, the senior isn’t always aware of—or able to communicate—how they ended up on the floor in the first place. That lack of vital information could lead to unnecessary and stressful trips to the emergency room. Not knowing exactly what happened also means that valuable time may be lost in determining the right care for the situation. To address these issues, Belmont Village has installed SafelyYou® Fall Detection Technology in its memory care units in locations across the country, which uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to detect 99 percent of falls. The innovative combination of real-time fall detection and clinically supported fall intervention has enabled Belmont Village to reduce fall-related ER visits by 41 percent.
Thoughtful, senior-centered features, such as the SafelyYou system, wheelchair accessibility, non-slip surfaces and handrails, dramatically reduce safety risks while enabling higher levels of independence, for longer.
“[Senior living] really, really enhanced my independence, and I’m not limited at all,” says Chris, a resident of Belmont Village. “Even though I am disabled, I can go out whenever I want.”
3) Supports Social Interaction
One of the most important lifestyle elements of successful aging is an engaging, fulfilling social network. That’s why Belmont Village provides a vibrant calendar of social and enrichment activities 7 days-a-week. A 2019 study found adults over 65 who interacted with people beyond their usual social circle were more likely to have higher levels of physical activity and greater emotional well-being. In addition, research shows that seniors with larger social networks and more frequent interactions with others experience less depression and cognitive decline than people in isolation.
Belmont Village’s innovative, evidence-based Whole Brain Fitness program is designed to nurture the mind, body, and spirit each day to maintain resident health at every stage of aging.
- White Paper: Innovative fall detection technology in senior living reduces fall-related injuries and ER visits Download Now»
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- Belmont Adopts New Program to Prevent Falls
- Belmont’s In-House Rehab Teams Offer Expert Care & Support After a Fall